Ukrainian Contingent Welcomed to Davis Center
A delegation of educators, advocates, and government officials from the Ukraine gathered at FCPS’ Davis Career Center for an in-depth overview of the special education career and transition services provided to students.
Organized by Meridian International Center—an affiliate of the U.S. State Department—the professional exchange program brings emerging leaders from around the world to meet with, learn from, and exchange views with professional peers in the United States. The visiting Ukrainian group is exploring inclusive education practices and teaching methodologies. Davis Center staff discussed, through an interpreter, employment partnerships, person-centered decision-making processes, and the many activities and strengths of the Davis Center’s approach to providing career pathways for young adults with intellectual disabilities, autism, and other disabilities. Staff from the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) and the Commonwealth’s Division of Rehabilitative Services (DARS) were also present to address the transition process from age 22 into adulthood.
Davis Center principal Chad Clayton explained the FCPS program: “We support individuals to learn to recognize their own skills, interests, and strengths in order to help shine a light on opportunities,” he said. “Our team works out in the community, too, to help clarify myths and facts of working with people with disabilities. We look for career options that have room for growth and work hard to impart the importance of self-advocacy, self-sufficiency, and key independent living skills for our students.”
The State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program objectives included: • Examining the U.S. education system and the legislative basis for inclusive education; • Exploring federal, state, and local policies on inclusive education; • Examining best practices and innovative models in inclusive education in both public and private sector institutions; and • Exploring the role of supplementary sports, social, and cultural programs that enhance the effectiveness of inclusive education.
After the exchange, the group travelled to the Fair Oaks Marriott for an on-site opportunity to see inclusion in action and students at work in the gym, restaurant, and housekeeping. The delegates expressed great interest and appeared intrigued by the discussions, one delegate remarking through the interpreter, “We have nothing like this.” The Davis Center expressed appreciation to the visitors for the opportunity to showcase the abilities and talents of their students and the powerful partnerships of the Northern Virginia business community and the Davis Center community at large.